Home >> October 2009 Edition >> Executive Spotlight: Markus Schäfer
Executive Spotlight: Markus Schäfer
Managing Director, atrexx

Established in 2002, the atrexx Trading Platform is a satellite marketplace designed to bring buyers and sellers of satellite related resources and services together. The Platform offers free registration to buyers and sellers. Once registered, they are able to post their request, or their available services, onto the platform. All postings are publicly accessible worldwide, to everyone with access to the Internet.

Markus photo atrexx professionals handle all trades. Posters to the Platform, whether they are making requests or offers, remain anonymous. This enables an efficient and fair transaction. On registering, the subscriber may choose to be alerted about new postings to the Platform by e-mail on a daily or weekly basis. The Platform operates within an established framework that ensures good practice.

Conventional procurement methods can often result in an inefficient and lengthy process. The atrexx Trading Platform eliminates the problems associated with traditional procurement and offers a high-quality service for both buyers and sellers. The company is now aiming to elevate the profile of this unique resource and to develop it further so that more can benefit from its offerings. We talked with Markus Schäfer to find out how the platform originated and how he sees the future of the operation.

SatMagazine (SM)
Markus, how was the ‘need’ for the atrexx platform identified and how long was it in development?

Markus Schäfer
The idea for the Trading Platform came about in the fall of 2001 and began as a consulting project. At the time, there were other similar platforms in existence. However, we felt we could offer more to customers due to our extensive experience in the satellite and the online industries. We decided to use our expertise to help bring together those who had unused resources available who could then offer such to those who needed such equipment and services. By placing this facility online, it immediately reached an international audience.

The platform is unique in that the online facility enables buyers and sellers to reach potential customers all over the world with the click of a mouse. This can result in new and long-term relationships between players in the industry that may not have even been aware of one another before. this platform was made available. Additionally, the services offers access to unadvertised capacity.

We developed the platform over a period of six months. atrexx went live in February 2002 and was an instant success. An interesting point is that the majority of the other trading platforms were closing down or becoming dormant during the months and years after we initially started our service. This was largely due to the deflation of the dot com bubble.

atrexx was actually a latecomer to this particular market. By 2006, when we re-modeled our website, there were practically none of our competitors remaining in the business. Today, atrexx is the worldwide market leader. As far as we know, there is no other Trading Platform similar to ours and we are quite proud of this fact.

Did atrexx carry out Beta-testing before launching the Trading Platform?

Markus Schäfer
atrexx had to be extremely cautious in the development of the Platform. We carried out extensive beta testing in-house to ensure we had developed a system that was correct for the market.

The Platform is easy to use, yet sophisticated, and has a self-provisioning system where the subscriber places postings, edits and updates them, and eventually deletes them. The system guarantees all postings are current: If the poster does not update or confirm a posting after 30 days, that posting is erased — after two reminders sent via email to the poster. atrexx does not update the online facility — the Platform takes care of itself. People who post on the website can do so without any assistance.

What are the main advantages of using the marketplace for the buyer and seller?

Markus Schäfer
There are many advantages for the buyer and the seller. First, the seller benefits by making a sale on capacity that would have otherwise not been used. Instead of allowing the capacity to lay “idle,” they can make a profit and also encourage new business.

Then, atrexx professionals become the mediators when a buyer shows interest in a certain posting. This is an efficient and cost-effective way for the supplier to do business. This is all made possible at nominal cost to the seller. Sellers put themselves at no risk in using atrexx’ services and gain access to a vast audience in posting their available services to the Platform.

<atrexx trading platform

From the buyer’s point of view, the atrexx platform provides them with a broad selection of suppliers and allows them to find the best deal possible and to realize considerable savings. This is a single point of contact that enables them to access a large part of the telecom and broadcast marketplace.

Possibly the most attractive benefit to the buyer is that the service is absolutely free of charge to them. Once they have identified a post that is attractive, atrexx takes over. We open the bidding process with the supplier on the buyer’s behalf, pre-negotiating the contract terms, and acting within a well-defined framework. All parties know exactly where they stand.

What role does atrexx play within the Platform itself?

Markus Schäfer
atrexx acts as a mediator in the buying/selling process. atrexx has extensive experience within the satellite market and knows it very well. When an atrexx professional is engaged in the negotiating process between buyer and seller, both parties know that they have a highly qualified and experienced mediator working for them — the mediator wants to ensure both receive the best deal available.

SAT-GE Ad SM Oct09 This means that the atrexx Trading Platform is not simply an online service — it is a reliable and fair service that operates within strict guidelines.

How is atrexx using Twitter to engage new users with the platform? Do you envisage using any more social networking sites in the future?

Markus Schäfer
I recognized that social networking is actually becoming an integral part of marketing strategies for all sorts of companies and has really taken off over the past year. I also recognize it is a powerful tool, so I decided to take the step of establishing the atrexx Trading Platform on Twitter — the results have been encouraging. We have built up quite a following!

We regularly post the leads from the trading platform onto Twitter. It provides us with a novel way of spreading the word about the platform and also to keep our followers informed of atrexx news. Twitter has increased awareness of the Trading Platform and has presented us with another way of reaching the market. It is still in the early days for atrexx and Twitter, but we look forward to seeing how it develops. We may explore the use of additional social networking sites in the future.

How does atrexx envisage the platform’s future Platform development?

Markus Schäfer
It is very important to us that atrexx is viewed by users of the Trading Platform as a trustworthy and reliable partner enfused with integrity. We want buyers and sellers to know that using our Platform means they can be absolutely sure of an excellent service.

In the future, we want to offer value-added services on legal, financial, and technical level in order for users to turn to us for advice on the services they may require, or for help with other satellite-related business. For selected offerings, atrexx will purchase the resources and resell them as part of our portfolio of products and services. In this case, atrexx will be the contract partner for both the seller and the buyer — a highly trustworthy partner. atrexx has access to a wide portfolio of satellite resources and we will be offering our expertise to those who use the Trading Platform to help receive the most assistance out of the service.

This is an extremely interesting market. We want to promote atrexx as a strong partner for buyers and sellers. I must reiterate that atrexx offers much more than being just an online platform. We are absolutely committed to offering a service of the highest quality and will endeavor to continue to develop and evolve this offering.

atrexx offers a number of telecommunications and broadcast services. Perhaps you could tell us about a few of them?

Markus Schäfer
I do think it is very important to emphasize the fact that atrexx is about more than the online trading platform. We have become a one-stop-shop and a key solutions provider for the telecommunications and broadcast industries, with a strong focus on satellite communications. Offerings include Internet and IP via Satellite, Mobile Satellite Services, Voice Communication, Corporate Networks, Wireless Access and Radio and TV via Satellite. We supply sophisticated hardware for VSAT and broadcast services including VSAT antennas, electronic sets, satellite modems, transmitters, cable sets and VoIP gateways and routers.

Once engaged in a project, we provide a dedicated, complete, end-to-end solution and support our customers at all stages from the design of a network to implementation and ongoing support. atrexx is currently working in over 35 countries with a focus on the Middle East, African, European, Asian, and Latin American regions. We work with several hundred customers that include commercial and industrial enterprises and governmental institutions and military bodies.